Mitch Schneider’s recent column, titled Inconceivable!, September 2006, was just the tip of the iceberg. Editor's Note: To view the column, see 'Mitch's World" on www.countmerman.com.
Yes, getting and selling the wrong parts is not unusual because it happens all the time. I have been in the heavy-duty market for over 20 years and in the automotive market for more than 30 years before that as a counterman. With the latest technology in computers, the automotive parts business really is a snap compared to the heavy-duty business. For example, at an auto parts supply store, all a customer has to tell the counterperson is make, model and year and the computer does the work. In the heavy-duty aftermarket business you need the VIN and the exact terminology of the part. Only the new truck dealers have access to the VIN by application system, but we in the aftermarket need to either see a sample of the part or a picture of it. Often times, the same model and year of any particular truck can use any of three different air dryers, air compressors or air conditioning parts depending on how old the truck is and how many owners it’s had, etc. An owner-operator can put anything on a truck over the years just to get back it on the road. And a truck down is money lost, so immediate attention is mandatory to keep them on the road.
Based on all that, it’s very possible that a customer or a technician can get the wrong part and even the supplier can give the wrong part. Having full knowledge of the exact part a customer needs is the most important aspect of the “inconceivable” not happening in the first place. It’s all in the terminology in naming the parts by the correct name and if possible, the original part number. It would certainly make our job a whole lot easier.
Larry R. Wissler